New York, NY – The top cop for the New York Police Department (NYPD) said it would be “insanity” for the federal government to force one state to recognize another state’s gun laws.
A bill that’s being considered on Capitol Hill would make a concealed carry gun permit much like a driver’s license, in that if it were issued by one state, all other states would have to accept it.
If passed, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act would eliminate fears legal gun owners have about traveling across state lines, and unintentionally breaking the law.
But it would also force a state like New York, with tougher anti-gun laws, to extend reciprocity to concealed carry permit holders from a state with looser concealed carry laws, the New York Post reported.
“I think it’s insanity,” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill told CBS News.
Commissioner O’Neill said he believed that accidents, suicides, and crime would all increase if more out-of-state guns were allowed in New York.
“Right now, we have a good idea of who’s carrying guns. If this law passes, all bets are off,” he said. “Anybody can come into New York City from any state and carry a weapon.”
But U.S. Representative Richard Hudson (R – North Carolina), who sponsored the bill in the House, told CBS News that his state has seen a drop in crime with an increase in gun ownership.
“I can tell you that … in the last 20 years, you’ve seen – a huge uptick in gun ownership. You’ve seen a huge uptick in conceal carry permit holders, and at the same time, you see violent crime drop,” Hudson said. “If you look at the states that have Constitutional carry, you’ve seen violent crime drop.”
He also used the example of Shaneen Allen, a legal gun owner and mugging victim from Pennsylvania, who was arrested in New Jersey and spent 48 days in jail for traveling across state lines with her legally registered weapon, as another reason reciprocity was necessary.
Allen, the 27-year-old mother of two children, might have spent years in prison if not for a pardon she received from then-Governor Chris Christie, according to NJ.com.
Christie also pardoned some Florida and North Carolina residents who faced charges for carrying their guns in or through the state of New Jersey, even though they were legal carriers in their home states.
Tim Schmidt, of the U.S. Concealed Carry Association, said it’s a also Second Amendment issue.
“[The Constitution] says you have the right to keep and bear arms and it shall not be infringed,” Schmidt told CBS News. “Telling me where I can and can’t carry a gun, telling me where I can and can’t protect my family and loved ones, that’s an infringement. Yes, that’s gone on for a long time in our country, but we’re finally fixing it.”
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. told the New York Post that he thought extending reciprocity for concealed carry “would be a disaster for New York City” and called it “extremely dangerous.”
He said he thought states should be allowed to determine their own policies on guns.
“I wouldn’t presume to tell the residents of West Virginia what their gun laws should be. They’ve figured out what they want there,” Vance said.
“But I don’t think they, or Congress, should be having West Virginia’s laws put on New York City,” he said.